Leave our close alone: residents

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BITTERN residents opposed to plans to link their close with a large subdivision are concerned increased traffic will diminish the family-friendly character of their area.

Hector Close resident Rhys Matulis, who has collected signatures from 14 of the street’s 24 properties who are opposed to plans to link Hector close with Henderson Road, says the proposal will endanger children playing in the street.

“[Linking the two roads] is not in keeping with the character of existing subdivisions in Bittern in which streets are deliberately not joined to reduce through traffic and enhance their family-friendly character,” Mr Matulis said.

“We are not against the development [in Henderson Road] – we just don’t want it to connect to our close.

“A close by normal standards is not connected to other streets.”

The residents would prefer the streets to be joined by a walkway. “This type of feature can be found elsewhere in Bittern and more broadly in the shire and would preserve the nature of the close,” neighbour Matthew Wood said. “It would allow pedestrians to safely walk around our beautiful suburb.”

However, Mornington Peninsula Shire planner Emine Gurleyen in a letter to the residents said the council was satisfied the linking of the streets was “consistent with the provisions of the Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme and will ensure orderly planning of the area”.

She said: “The continuation of Hector Close was always foreseen when the original subdivision of 125 Hendersons Road (which contains the dwellings on Hector Close today) into 21 lots was assessed and consequently approved.”

The council says it prefers a vehicle connection with Hector Close to improve safety by allowing easier manoeuvring of rubbish trucks, Australia Post and newspaper deliveries.

The planner said through traffic would “mostly be cars of those living and visiting properties within the subdivision”.

But Mr Matulis said the council had “seen fit to completely ignore the views of the residents of Hector Close”.

“To argue that the new subdivision needs to join our close for the collection of waste seems a very weak reason as council currently collects waste from dead-end closes [like ours] everyday across the shire,” he said.

“Myself and the other residents … feel very strongly about protecting our close and will appeal any decision to issue a permit which approves the connection of the new subdivision to Hector Close at VCAT.”

He said the council should “listen to the views of the residents … and work with the applicant to develop the new subdivision without the need to connect to the current Hector Close subdivision”.

First published in the Western Port News – 11 September 2019

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